|Five-time Open champion James Braid designed the Musselburgh Golf Club course at Monktonhall and he, along with Percy Alliss, Henry Cotton and Alf Padgham officially opened the course with a 4-ball match in 1938.|
Built on a former farmland site, the course has benefited over the years from an on-going program of tree planting and these arboreal enhancements have certainly transformed what was a rather mundane, open landscape into the well-defined series of fairways that are in use today.
The course is laid out close to the River Esk and water plays a strategic role at a number of holes. The Craigie burn cuts across several fairways and this aquatic hazard has the desired effect of forcing golfers to decide whether to lay up or carry the meandering waters of the stream.
We played Musselburgh/ Monktonhall last year during our golf trip visiting the Lothians. The course feels like a mature course, starts with a fun downhill par 4, and tests your overall golf abilities from start to finish. The course is a nice mix of long and short holes, offering you a good parkland golf experience.
I remember the holes at the other side of the railway track best, but will never forget the slightly uphill 18th, with the promising sight of the clubhouse, whilst walking up to the green.
The design of the course never gets to exiting, but the green complexes are well designed and well maintained.
The clubhouse offers nice views from the terraces, overlooking hole 1 and 18.
Given the overall golf test it provides, I/m not surprised the course has been used as a qualifier for the Open in the past.
I’ve passed this course more than a dozen times in recent years on my way to the wonderful links layouts along the East Lothian coast but my, what a gem of a parkland track I’ve been overlooking! Lush and long, the fairways at Musselburgh are set either side of the main railway line into Edinburgh with holes 8 to 15 laid out on the more undulating ground on the south side of the tracks.
Playing corridors are generally wide but the intimidating greenside bunker complexes are very impressive hazards, particularly on the four short holes at 3, 6, 11 and 16. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to find that this course will be used for Final Qualifying in 2013 when the Open is held at Muirfield as it’s a quality course that’s well worth getting to know.